Essential or not? Permitted-Worker Status in Victoria’s Lockdown

We’ve received a number of queries in relation to whether workers can be categorised as essential during Victoria’s lockdown.

While there are a number of industries that are unarguably “essential”, much has been made of the seemingly random nature of who is deemed essential or permitted by the Victorian Government.

As of today, organisations on the permitted activities list only can have their workplaces open, by issuing permits to their staff.

Employers can issue a worker permit to their employee if:

  • the organisation is on the list of permitted activities
  • the employee is working in an approved category for on-site work, and
  • the employee cannot work from home.

In rare circumstances an employee does not need a worker permit.

This includes:

  • if an employee is at risk at home, such as at risk of family violence
  • law enforcement, emergency services or health care workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer.

An employee must not use a worker permit, even if they have been issued one, if:

  • they test positive to coronavirus (COVID-19) and are required to self-isolate
  • they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.